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feliLcwCe^   I 




Historic  Tea-Party  of  Edenton, 

OCTOBER   25TH.  1774. 



*^  National  recollection  is  the  foundation  of  national  character" 

Edward  Everett. 

W,-.^..     \n. 





HON.W.    D.    PRUDEN, 


[Fro/ii  a  pot /rait  i// possession  of  her  dcscendants'\ 


The  religious  votaries  of  the  Maldivean  Isles,  at  cer- 
tain times,  commit  to  the  mercy  of  the  wind  and 
waves  Httle  boats  laden  with  rich  hued  flowers,  delicate 
perfumes,  and  sweet-scented  woods  of  their  native  isles, 
hoping  to  receive  in  return  rich  rewards  for  the  sacri- 
fice ;  though  I  hsve  no  flowers  of  rhetoric  to  offer,  no 
measured  lines,  no  burning  incense  from  the  Muses' 
shrine,  'tis  thus  I  consign  this  bit  of  native  history 
rudderless  to  the  tide,  trusting  some  friendly  wave  may 
bear  it  safely  on  :  Hoping  also  like  Ruth  in  the  fields 
of  Boaz,  to  glean,  and  bind  together  a  few  handfuls, 
which  other  and  abler  reapers  have  carelessly,  or  on 
purpose  let  fall. 

There  is  in  Aforhanistan,  accordino-  to  Eastern  tra- 
dition,  a  miraculous  history  plant,  which  records  upon 
its  broad  luxurious  leaves  whatever  happens  each  day 
in  its  immediate  vicinity;  There  are  no  inaccuracies  and 
misstatements  of  the  press,  no  partiality  or  parti/an  wri- 
ters, no  incongruity  of  conflicting  records,  but  like  the 
polished  waters  around  which  it  flourishes,  it  faithfully 
mirrors  the  environing  objects.  Unfortunately  in  this 
country  there  is  no  such  gift  by  Nature,  no  historic 
Genii,  but  there  is,  I  believe,  a  movement  on  foot  to  con- 
dense, preserve,  and  separate  true  and  legitimate  history 
from  the  ordinary  records  of  the  press.  The  ancients 
were  especially  particular  that  their  records  should  be  ex- 
act, even  the  works  of  the  historian  Livy,  barely  escaped 
annihilation  at  the  hands  of  the  infamous  Caligula,  for 
their  alleged  historical  inaccuracies  As  history  is  but 
the  story  of  the  past,  then  posterity  demands  a  truth- 
ful and  unbiased  narration  of  facts;  "'Truth  comes  to  us 
from  the  past,  as  gold  is  washed  down  from  the  mount- 
ains of  Sierra  Nevada,  in  minute  but  precious  particles, 
and  intermixed  with  infinite  alloy,  the  debris  of  cen- 
turies." It  is  sufficient  for  us  to  preserve  facts  as  they 
happen,  the  succeeding  generations  will  give  them  their 
proper  coloring. 

Tacitus,  appreciating  the  value  of  history  to  mankind, 
wrote,  nearly  twenty  centuries  ago,  that  its  chief  object 
was  "to  rescue  virtuous  actions  from  the  oblivion,  to 
which  the  want  of  records  would  consign  them." 

Even  in  this  practical,  speculative  age  there  seems 
to  be  a  tendency  all  over  our  country  to  exhume  from 
oblivion  the  events  and  traditions  of  our  past.  This 
growing  reverence  for  American  history  is  an  evidence 
of  increasing  national  intelligence,  pride  and  dignity. 
Unfortunately   for   North    Carolina,   many  of  her  most 

beautiful  traditions  have  been  allowed  to  pass  unnoticed, 
and  her  glorious  deeds  regarded  as  mere  ephemera  to 
perish  with  the  actors.  The  establishment  of  a  chair 
of  history  at  the  state  university,  and  the  organization 
of  the  historical  society  will  do  much  to  develop  and 
preserve  our  vast  and  valuable  historic  material.  We 
must  confess,  and  with  mortification  and  chagrin,  that 
in  order  to  study  any  subject  connected  with  state  his- 
tory intelligently,  we  have  been  obliged  in  the  past  to 
refer  not  only  to  the  historical  societies  of  other  states, 
but  even  to  the  libraries  of  Europe. 

It  is  the  object  of  this  paper  to  bring  into  light  an 
exceptionally  interesting  and  patriotic  incident  in  North 
Carolina,  hitherto  only  casually  noticed  by  one  state 
historian.  A  stranger  coming  to  Edenton  twenty-five 
years  ago  was  shown  an  old-fashioned,  long  wooden 
house  fronting  directly  on  the  beautiful  court-house 
green;  this  historic  house  has  since  yielded  to  the  ruth- 
less hand  of  modern  vandalism.  It  was  the  residence 
of  Mrs.  Elizabeth  King,  and  under  its  roof  fifty-one  pat- 
riotic ladies.*  (and  not  fifty-four  as  stated  erroneously  by 
Wheeler)  met  October 25th,  1774,  and  passed  resolutions  / 
commending  the  action  of  the  provincial  congress.  They 
also  declared  they  would  not  conform  "to  that  Perni- 
cious Custom  of  DrinkingTea,or thatthe  aforesaid  Ladys 
would  not  promote  ye  wear  of  any  manufacture  from 
England"  until  the  tax  was  repealed.  Wheeler,  in  al- 
luding to  this  incident  and  to  the  stormy  days  closely 
preceeding  the  Revolution,  in  his  second  volume  says, 
"The  patriotism  of  the  men  was  even  exceeded  by  that 
of  the  women.  By  some  strange  freak  of  circumstance, 
many  years  ago,  there  was  found  at  Gibraltar  a  beau- 
tiful picture  done  in  skillful  style,  enameled  on  glass,  of  a 
'meeting  of  the  ladies  of  Edenton  destroying  the  tea, 
(their  favorite  beverage)  when  it  was  taxed  by  the  Eng- 

*As  the  population  was  sparce,    it  is  very  probable  that  fifty-one  names 
comprised  most  of  the  ladies  living  in  and  around  Edenton  then. 

lish  parliament.  This  picture  was  procured  by  some  of 
the  officers  of  our  navy,  and  was  sent  to  Edenton,  where 
I  saw  it  in  1830." 

This  is  not  only  erroneous,  but  Mr.  Wheeler  has  also 
misquoted  the  reference  to  the  meeting  in  the  American 
Archives,  and  there  has  been  considerable  other  misin- 
formation afloat  regarding  it,  all  of  which  I  shall  endeav- 
or to  set  aright.  The  following  is  the  correct  notice 
copied  directly  from  the  American  Archives,  and  occu- 
pies just  twelve  lines:  ''Association  Signed  by  Ladies  of 
Edenton,  North  Carolina,  October  25,  1774.  As  we  can- 
not be  indifferent  on  any  occasion  that  appears  to  affect 
the  peace  and  happiness  of  our  country;  and  it  has  been 
thought  necessary  for  the  publick  good  to  enter  into 
several  particular  resolves,  by  meeting  of  Members  of 
Deputies  from  the  whole  province,  it  is  a  duty  that  we  owe 
not  only  to  our  near  and  dear  relations  and  connections, 
but  to  ourselves,  who  are  essentially  interested  in  their 
welfare,  to  do  everything  as  far  as  lies  in  our  power 
to  testify  our  sincere  adherence  to  the  same,  and  we  do 
therefore  accordingly  subscribe  this  paper,  as  a  witness 
of  our  fixed  intention,  and  solemn  determination  to  do 
so.'     Signed  by  fifty-one  ladies."* 

Women  have  always  been  potent  factors  in  all  great 
moral  and  political  reformations.  The  drafting  of  such 
resolutions,  so  direcrly  antagonistic  to  royal  authority 
required  a  calmer,  far  more  enviable  courage  than  that 
developed  by  the  fanatic  heroism  of  the  crusades,  or  the 
feverish  bravery  of  martial  music.  The  tax  upon  tea 
was  a  direct  insult  to  their  household  gods;  it  poisoned 
every  cup  of  their  tea,  it  affected  every  hearthstone  in 
the  province.  In  looking  back  upon  our  past  it  should 
be  a  matter  of  pride  to  know,  that  such  women  helped 
to  form  the  preface  of  our  history,  characters  which 
should  be  held  up  to  our  children  as  worthy  of  emulation. 

♦American  Archives  fourth  series,  vol.  i.  8qi. 


-  V 



"These  are  deeds  which  should  not  pass  away, 
And  names  that  must  not  wither,  though  the  earth 
Forgets  her  empires  with  a  just  decay.'' 

The  account  of  this  tea-party  found  its  way  into  the 
London  papers  of  that  day,  and  the  effect  it  had  there 
may  be  noted  in  the  following  old  letter,  strongly  tinct- 
ured with  sarcasm.  It  was  written  by  Arthur  Iredell 
of  London  to  his  brother  James  Iredell,  a  distinguished 
patriot  of  this  place,  who  married  Miss  Hannah  Johnson, 
a  sister  of  one  of  the  signers  of  the  noted  document, 

"London  Queen  Square,"  January  31,  1775. 

Dear  Brother:  I  see  by  the  newspaper  the  Edenton  ladies 
have  signalized  themselves  by  their  protest  against  tea  drinking. 
The  name  of  Johnston  I  see  among  others;  are  any  of  my  sister's  re- 
lations patriotic  heroines?  Is  there  a  female  congress  at  Edenton  too? 
I  hope  not,  for  we  Englishmen  are  afraid  of  the  male  congress,  but 
if  the  ladies,  who  have  ever  since  the  Amazonian  era  been  esteemed 
the  most  formidable  enemies  ;  if  they,  I  say.  should  attack  us,  the 
most  fatal  consequence  is  to  be  dreaded.  So  dexterous  in  the  hand- 
ling of  a  dart,  each  wound  they  give  is  mortal;  whilst  we,  so  unhap- 
pily formed  by  nature,  the  more  we  strive  to  conquer  them,  the  more 
we  are  conquered.  The  Edenton  ladies,  conscious,  I  suppose,  of  this 
superiority  on  their  side,  by  a  former  experience,  are  willing  I  im- 
agine, to  crush  us  into  atoms  by  their  omnipotency;  the  only  securi- 
ty on  our  side  to  prevent  the  impending  ruin, that  I  can  preceive,  is 
the  probability  that  there  are  but  few  places  in  America  which  pos- 
sess so  much  female  artillery  as  Edenton. 

Pray  let  me  know  all  the  particulars  when  you  favor  me  with  a 
letter.  Your  most  affectionate  friend  and  brother. 


The  society  of  Edenton  at  this  period  was  charming 
in  its  refinement  and  culture;  it  was  at  one  time  the  co- 
lonial capital,  and  social  rival  of  Williamsburg,  Virginia. 
Edenton  then  had  five  hundred  inhabitants.  Its  galaxy 
of  distinguished  patriots,  both  men  and  women,  would 
shine  resplendent  in  any  country  or  in  any  age.  The  tea- 
party  then,  as  now,  was  one  of  the  most  fashionable 
modes  of  entertaining.  The  English  were  essentially  a 
tea-drinking  nation,  and  consequently  tea  became  the 
almost  universal  drink  of  the  colonies.  Dr.  Johnson  de- 
clared that  "with  tea  he  amused  the  evening,  with   tea 

*  Life  and  correspondence  of  James  Iredell,  vol.  i,  page  230. 


solaced  the  midnight,  and  with  tea  welcomed  the  morn- 
ing". Coffee  was  not  introduced  in  Europe  until  much 
later,  the  first  cup  having  been  drunk  by  Louis  XIV.  of 
France  at  a  cost  of  twenty-nine  dollars  per  pound.  The 
principal  variety  of  tea  used  by  the  colonies  was  the 
Bohea,  or  black  tea,  and  came  from  India.  It  was  of  the 
purest  quality,  the  art  of  sophistication  and  adulteration 
being  unknown  at  that  day.  The  feeling  of  ease  and 
comfort  inspired  by  an  elegant  cup  of  tea,  as  well  as  the 
exhilaration  of  the  mental  faculties  which  it  produces, 
made  ic  a  necessary  assistant  to  break  the  stiffness  of 
those  old-fashioned  parties.  It  contains  an  active  prin- 
ciple thine,  which,  taken  in  considerable  quantity,  pro- 
duces a  species  of  intoxication.  Foreigners  who  visit 
China,  where  tea  is  served  upon  almost  every  occasion, 
become  frequently  tea-drunk.  The  method  of  prepar- 
ing tea  by  our  ancestors  was  essentially  that  of  the 
wealthy  class  in  China.  The  tea  was  brought  upon  the 
table  in  decorated  china  tea-caddies,  some  of  which  are 
still  in  existence,  along-  with  an  urn  of  boiling  water. 
The  tea-leaves  were  then  placed  in  the  cup  of  every 
guest,  the  cup  filled  with  hot  water,  and  the  saucer  in- 
verted over  it  for  a  few  minutes  to  retain  the  aroma. 
The  tea-pot  was  only  used  then  by  the  rather 
bourgeoisie.  Social  life  was  never  more  enjoyed  than 
then,  there  was  an  abandon  and  freedom  of  manner, 
united  with  an  open-hearted  hospitality,  of  which  we 
know  nothing  at  this  day,  when  social  restrictions  re- 
strict also  social  pleasures. 

Col.  Edward  Buncombe  but  crystalized,  and  formu- 
lated the  almost  universal  feeling  of  this  section,  when 
he  inscribed,  in  unmistakable  lines  upon  his  front  gate 
t4i#-^uphoneous  distich. 

"Welcome  all 

To  Buncombe  Hall"* 

There  were  quiltings,  and  cotillion  parties,  and  tea- 
parties  without  number,  the  gentlemen  would  often  go 

♦Buncombe  Hall  stood  in  Washington  Co.,  and  was  the  seat  of  a  generous 
hospitality;  The  mantel  from  its  banquet  hall  is  now  in  the  Courthouse  at 
Asheville  the  county  seat  of  Buncombe. 


great  distances  on  horseback,  with  their  sweethearts 
riding  behind  them,  and  attend  these  gatherings.  If  the 
night  was  cold,  blazing  fires  of  lightwood  crackled  to  re- 
ceive them,  and  huge  bowls  of  spicy  apple-toddy  mel- 
lowed to  enliven  and  cheer,  later  in  the  evening  tea 
would  invariably  be  served,  which  no  one  would  be  so 
unfashionable  as  to  refuse.  An  old  lady  informed  me 
that  her  orrandmother  had  a  medical  friend,  who  would 
always  drink  fourteen  cups  of  tea, 

Under  its  influence  conversation  enlivened,  and  wit 
sparkled.  After  tea  the  ladies  would  gossip,  and  spin, 
and  reel,  while  the  grentlemen  would  retire  to  discuss  the 
political  issues  of  the  day,  the  policy  of  Lord  North  in 
regard  to  the  American  colonies,  or  the  unjust  tax  which 
was  about  to  be  placed  upon  tea,  or  perhaps  one  would 
read  aloud  a  recent  speech  by  Mr.  Pitt,  from  an  Eng- 
lish newspaper,  which  he  had  been  so  fortunate  to  ob- 
tain from  some  incoming  ship;  All  along  this  would  be 
punctuated  by  puffs  of  tobacco  smoke  from  their  long- 
stemmed  pipes.  They  were  as  notional  about  their  to- 
bacco as  they  were  about  their  tea,  the  method  of  pre- 
paring and  using  the  weed,  was  to  cure  it  in  the  sun,  cut 
it  upon  a  maple  log.  keep  it  in  a  lilly  pot,  which  was  a 
jar  of  white  earth,  and  to  light  the  pipe  with  a  splinter 
of  juniper,  or  with  a  coal  of  fire,  in  a  pair  of  silver  tongs 
made  for  that  purpose. 

The  incidents  connected  with  this  particular  tea-party 
are  especially  interesting,  as  they  come  to  us  through 
the  blue  mist  of  a  century.  We  can  easily  imagine  how 
they  sat  around  in  their  low-necked,  short-waisted  gowns, 
and  after  they  had  gossiped  sufficiently,  "it  was  resolved 
that  those  who  could  spin,  ought  to  be  employed  in  that 
way,  and  those  who  could  not  should  reel.  When  the 
time  arrived  for  drinking  tea,  Bohea,  and  Hyperion  were 
provided^  and  every  one  of  the  ladies  judiciously  rejected 
the  poisonous  Bohea,  and  unanimously  and  to  their  very 
great  honor,  preferred  the  balsamic  Hyperion"  which  was 
nothing  more  than  the  dried  leaves  of  the  raspberry  vine, 
a  drink,  in  the  writer's  opinion,  more  vile  even  than  the 


much  vaunted  Yeopon. 

The  picture  of  this  patriotic  party,  incorrectly  alluded 
to  by  Wheeler,  has  a  strange  and  unique  history,  and  I 
give  it  as  I  have  received  it  from  the  lady  into  whose 
possession  the  picture  has  fallen.  Lieutenant  William 
T.  Muse,  a  United  States  naval  officer,  who  became  con- 
spicuous during  the  civil  war,  and  whose  mother  was  a 
Miss  Blount  of  Edehton,  while  on  a  cruise  in  the  Medi- 
terranean stopped  at  Port  Mahon  on  the  island  of  Min- 
orca, and  accidently  saw  hanging  in  a  barber's  shop  there 
a  picture,  representing  the  Edenton  tea-party  of  1774. 
It  was  purchased,  and  brought  by  him  to  Edenton  in 
1830.  I  have  this  date  from  an  old  Bible  bearing  the 
date  of  his  return  from  the  cruise.  It  was  first  placed  on 
exhibition  in  the  court-house,  and  the  representation  of 
the  characters  was  so  distinct  that  many  of  the  ladies 
were  easily  recognized.  It  then  found  a  resting  place  in 
the  old  tailor  shop  of  Joseph  Manning,  ancestor  of  Chief 
Justice  Manning  of  Louisana,  and  finally  in  a  cracked 
condition,  was  intrusted  to  the  care  of  a  lady.  During  the 
confusion  of  refugeeing  incident  to  the  civil  war,  it  was 
broken  in  three  pieces. 

It  is  a  painting  upon  glass,  twelve  by  fourteen  inches. 
Upon  one  of  the  pieces  is  the  declaration  set  forth  by  the 
ladies,  that  they  would  drink  no  tea,  nor  wear  any  stuffs 
of  British  manufacture.  Upon  another  is  the  picture  of 
the  lady,  who  presided  upon  that  occasion.  She  is  seat- 
ed at  a  table  with  a  pen  in  her  hand,  her  maid  Amelia 
standing  behind  her  chair.  This  maid  lived  for  many 
years  after  this  incident,  and  is  still  remembered  by  some 
of  the  oldest  citizens.  By  a  singular  coincidence  her 
granddaughter  is  still  living  upon  the  very  same  lot  where 
thejtea-party  was  held.  Upon  the  third  fragment  of  this 
picture  in  plain  letters  is  written,  ''The  Town  of  Eden- 
ton." It  is  not  known  how  the  picture  of  this  party  was 
obtained,  or  how  it  found  its  way  to  Port  Mahon,  or  even 
into  the  barber  shop.  The  printer's  name  in  the  corner 
of  the  picture  is  said  to  have  been  the  same  one,  who 
printed  the  celebrated  letters  of  Junius  in  the  reign  of 
Georo^e  III. 


Pictures  have  immortalized  many  events  in  liistory, 
and  it  is  very  probable  that  but  for  this  one,  the  pleas- 
ing little  incident  would  have  been  lost  or  forgotten. 
The  defense  of  Champigny,  by  the"Garde  Mobile,"could 
never  have  been  so  immortalized  in  prose  or  rhyme, 
as  by  the  brush  of  Edouard  Detaille.  The  Confederate 
etchings  by  Dr.  A.  J.  Volck,  spoke  volumes  and  were  so 
severe,  that  he  was  confined  in  Fore  Mc Henry  prison, 
and  the  political  cartoons  by  John  Tanniel  of  the  Lon- 
don Punch  produced  a  profound  sensation.  "Porte  Cray- 
on;" (General  Strother).  in  his  interesting  article  on 
Edenton  and  the  surroundings,  written  for  Harper's 
Magazine  in  1857,  says,  "It  is  to  be  regretted  that  Porte 
Crayon  did  not  get  a  sight  of  this  painting,  that  the  world 
might  have  heard  more  of  it,  and  that  the  patriotism  of 
the  Ladies  of  Edenton  might  have  been  blazoned  be- 
side that  of  the  men  of  Boston,  who  have  figured  in  so 
many  bad  woodcuts."  None  of  the  names  of  the  fifty- 
one  ladies  present  at  this  party  have  been  preserved  in 
history,  but  I  have  succeeded  in  rescuing  five  of  them 
from  the  local  traditions.  Mrs.  Penelope  Barker,  whose 
picture  appears  here,  was  the  president  of  this  party. 
She  was  no  advocate  of  celibacy,  having  been  married 
first  to  a  Mr.  Hodgson,  then  to  a  Mr.  Craven,  and 
lastly  to  Mr.  Barker,  whom  she  survived. 

At  a  casual  glance  one  might  easily  mistake  her  por- 
trait for  that  of  Lady  Washington.  She  was  one  of  those 
lofty,  intrepid,  high-born  women  peculiarly  fitted  by 
nature  to  lead;  fear  formed  no  part  of  her  composition. 
Her  face  bears  the  expression  of  sternness  without  harsh- 
ness, which  a  cheap  novelist  would  describe  as  hauteur. 
She  was  abrilliant  conversationalist,  and  a  society  leader 
of  her  day. 

Mr.  Thomas  Barker,*  her  husband,  was  a  gifted  lawyer 
and  had  for  his  pupil  at  one  time  the  distinguished  Gov- 
ernor, Samuel  Johnston.  The  attachment  of  Gov.  John- 
ston for  Mr.  Barker  wassogreat,  that  in  after  years  he  had 

*A  portrait  of  Thomas  Barker  by  Sir.  Joshua  Reynolds,  graces  the  Hayes 
library.  There  is  also  a  fine  portrait  of  him,  probably  by  Princely,  in  the 
Cupola  house. 


him  and  his  more  illustrious  wife  interred  in  his  private 
graveyard  on  his  beautiful  estate  Hayes,*  where  a  mossy 
slab  marks  their  last  resting-place.  Mr.  Barker  was  de- 
tained for  some  time  in  London  during  the  Revolution, 
and  while  there  his  wife  was  called  upon  to  show  some 
of  that  pluck,  and  courage  she  had  evinced  at  the  tea- 
party.  Being  informed  by  a  servant  that  some  British 
soldiers  were  taking  her  carriage  horses  from  her  stables, 
she  snatched  her  husband's  sword  from  the  wall,  went 
out  and  with  a  single  blow  severed  the  reins  in  the  of- 
ficer's hands,  and  drove  her  horses  back  into  the  stables. 
The  British  officer  declared,  that  for  such  exhibition  of 
bravery,  she  should  be  allowed  to  keep  her  horses,  and 
she  was  never  afterwards  molested.  Mrs.  Barker's  resi- 
dence stood  upon  the  site  now  occupied  by  the  Wood- 
ard    Hotel. 

Mrs  Sarah  Valentine  was  also  one  of  the  signers,  her 
portrait  is  still  in  the  possession  of  her  descendants, j  and 
her  house  is  still  standing-  on  lower  end  of  Main  St.  Mrs. 
Elizabeth  King  was  another  signer,  and  it  was  at  her  house 
as  before  mentioned,  that  the  party  was  held.  She  was 
the  wife  of  Thomas  King,  a  prominent  merchant  of  the 
town.  The  Miss  Johnston  referred  to  in  the  Iredell  let- 
ter was  undoubtedly  Miss  Isabella,  a  sister  of  Governor 
Johnston.  She  was  engaged  to  Joseph  Hewes,  a  signer 
of  the  Declaration  of  Independence  from  North  Carolina 
and  died  just  before  her  marriage  was  consummated. 
Hewes,  who  was  a  man  of  great  wealth  and  refinement, 
soon  followed  her  broken-hearted  to  the  grave. 

Mrs.  Winifred  VViofPfins  Hoskins,  was  another  sigrner, 
and  lived  in  the  country  near  Edenton,  she  was  the  wife 
of  Richard  Hoskins,  a  fearless  and  zealous  patriot:  join- 
ing the  American  army  at  the  first  sound  to  arms,  he  ser- 
v^^with  signal  bravery  and  courage  until  its  close. 
During  his  absence,  his  wife  managed  the  entire  farming 

*Hayes,  the  lovely  seat  of  Gov.  Johnston,  is  the  most  interesting  place  in 
North  Carolina,  Its  library  of  artistic  octagonal  design,  and  unique  appoint- 
ments, together  with  its  5000  vols,  of  rare  books,  old  manuscripts,  busts,  and 
portraits  of  distinguished  men,  still  stands  unsullied  by  time,  and  without  a 

jThe  Bockover  family  of  Norfolk,  Va.,  are  among  her  descendants. 





interest  with  prudence  and  profit.  When  they  were  mar- 
ried, they  came  down  the  Roanoke  river  in  an  open  boat, 
crossed  the  Albemarle  sound,  and  landed  at  Edenton. 
He  then  took  his  bride  behind  his  own  horse,  to  his  farm 
called  Paradise'^'  by  a  bridle  path,  there  being  no  public 
roads  in  that  direction  then.  Her  wedding  dress  was  spun 
and  woven  from  flax  grown  upon  her  father's  farm  in  Hali- 
fax county  So  delicate  and  smooth  was  the  warp,  that 
when  she  was  preparing  it  for  the  loom,  she  passed  the 
entire  chain  through  her  gold  ring.  The  art  of  household 
production  probably  reached  its  greatest  perfection 
about  this  time.  All  connection  with  the  mother  country 
was  severed,  and  the  colonists  thrown  upon  their  own  re- 
sources. It  was  indispensable  to  every  lady's  education 
that  she  should  know  how  to  spin,  sew,  and  weave.  The 
spider-like  fineness  of  their  yarns,  the  exquisite  beauty  of 
their  needlework,  and  the  lacy  filminess  of  the  woven 
fabrics  which  their  nimble  fingers  wrought,  are  the  envy 
and  admiration  of  the  present  age.  From  the  Napoleonic 
standpoint  Mrs.  Hoskins  was  the  greatest  of  them  all, 
having  given  eight  sons,  and  eight  daughters  to  her 
country. t  I  extract  the  following  from  the  first  volume 
(1877)  of  the  Magazine  of  American  History. 

"Revolutionary  Caricature.  I  send  a  description  of  a  caricature 
that  may  interest  collectors.  It  is  a  mezzotint,  fourteen  by  ten  inches, 
entitled  A  Society  of  Patriotic  Ladies,  at  Edenton,  in  Nortli  Carolina. 

*The  fine  pasturage  and  great  number  of  wild  bees  in  that  vicinity  sug- 
gested the  name.     It  literally  flowed  with  milk  and  honey. 

JThe  Hoskins  family  and  collateral  branches  are  still  prominent  in  the 
state.  The  venerable  VV.  E.  Rond,  a  descendant  ot  this  family,  possesses 
a  priceless  and  unique  relic,  a  gold  breastpin  of  Turkish  scimetar  design 
upon  which  is  engraved       "H  de  M.   1574    [81]." 

Henry   de   Montmorency   was  constable   of  France,  and  Grand  Master 

-4Cmghts  Templar  about  that  time.    The  figure  81  may  represent  the  number 

of  the  Commandery.or  it  may  have  been  a  Knight's  personal  badge,  81  is  also 

the  square  of  a   square,   formed   from  the  original  degree  of  Masonry,  of 

which  9  was  the  square. 

The  history  of  this  relic  is  veiled  in  mystery,  and  it  is  not  known  whether 
it  was  presented  to  a  member  of  this  family  for  valuable  services,  or  whether 
it  descended  by  intermarriage  with  some  of  the  Montmorencys.  The  fact 
however  that  the  Hoskins  Arms  was  augmented  with  a  sword  would  seem 
to  strengthen  the  former  supposition. 


London,  Printed  for  R.  Sayer  &  J.  Bennett,  No.  53  in  Fleet  Street, 
as  the  Act  directs  25  March.  1775,  Plate  V.  A  group  of  fifteen  figures 
are  around  or  near  a  table  in  a  room.  A  female  at  the  table  with  a 
gavel  is  evidently  a  man,  probably  meant  for  Lord  North.  A  lady, 
with  pen  in  hand  is  being  kissed  by  a  gentlemen.  Another  lady, 
standing,  is  writing  on  a  large  circular  which  can  be  read,  'We  the 
Ladys  of  Edenton  do  hereby  solemnly  engage  not  to  conform  to  that 
Pernicious  Custom  of  Drinking  Tea,  or  that  we  the  aforesaid  Ladys 
will  not  promote  ye  wear  of  any  manufacture  from  England,  untill 
such  time  that  all  Acts  which  tend  to  enslave  this  our  Native  Country 
shall  be  repealed  '  The  other  figures  are  not  close  around  the  table, 
and  are  empyting  tea-caddies  or  looking  on.  A  child  and  dog  are 
under  the  table.  Compare  Bancroft's  United  States,  Vol.  VII  p, 
282.    J.  C.  B." 

It  will  be  remembered  that  Lord  North,  referred  to 
in  the  description,  was  prime  minister  of  England  at  that 
time,  and  the  Stamp  Act,  which  included  a  great  many 
articles,  had  been  relieved  upon  everything  except  tea; 
this  made  him  especially  odious  to  the  ladies  of  the  Col- 
onies. The  dissolute,  and  impecunious  King  was  car- 
tooned at  this  time  as  a  hopeless  pauper,  thrusting  both 
hands  down  to  the  bottom  of  his  empty  pockets,  in 
search  of  his  last  guinea.  The  taxation  of  the  Cc)lonies 
became  a  necessity,  which  grew  out  of  his  extravagances. 
A  writer  in  alluding,  to  the  activity  and  zeal  of  the  women 
of  the  Revolution  says,  "In  the  lives  of  those  high- 
mettled  dames  of  the  olden  time,  the  daughters,  wives, 
and  mothers  of  men,  the  earnest  inquirer  might  find 
much  to  elucidate  that  befogged  question  of  the  present 
day,  what  are  the  rights  of  women  ?" 

And  now  my  task  is  ended,  let  history  distill  in  her 
great  alembic  whatever  is  valuable  from  these  pages  for 

"The  torch  shall  be  extinguished  which  hath  lit 
My  midnight  lamp,  and  what  is  writ  is  writ"     * 

*A  portion  of  this  article  appeared  in  the  Magazine  of  American  History, 
August  1892. 

Edenton,  North  Carolina,  Nov.  2§ih,  i8g8. 




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